The College of Southern Maryland recently announced its 2019-20 fine arts schedule — a collection of presentations best described by the German Composer Felix Mendelssohn’s quote, “The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.” And variety is just what CSM has in store.

The schedule of special events throughout the college’s fall and spring semesters includes dramatic, comedic and musical theater for adults and children, performances of Latin, barbershop, jazz and classical music, visual arts and dance and compelling literary lectures.

“We’re pleased to showcase our students’ artistic talents publicly to audiences and gallery patrons while providing an education to the next generation of performers, teachers and practitioners,” said Stephen Johnson, CSM Arts, Humanities, Social Science, and Education chairman.

This year’s schedule includes two notable concert series continuing from previous seasons. The Ward Virts Concert Series is presented at CSM’s Prince Frederick campus, and the Benny C. Morgan Concert Series is presented at the Leonardtown campus. Concerts in these series range in style from classical chamber music, piano solo and jazz combo.

“Fan favorites from past series will be returning — Tim Hudson on the trumpet, the Jim Holton Jazz Trio and the CSM Faculty Chamber Ensemble,” Johnson said.

Both of these series are presented for free to the college and community thanks to the financial assistance of generous donors and funding from the CSM Foundation, the Arts Council of Calvert County and the Maryland State Arts Council. For dates and musician bios related to the Ward Virts series, visit . For information on artists participating in the Benny C. Morgan series, visit

The college’s musical offerings also include an eclectic concert and recital schedule featuring CSM’s Choral Concert, Barbershop Concert, Jazz Ensemble Concert, Latin Ensemble Concert and Student Honors Recital. For information on CSM ensembles, visit

End-of-semester dance presentations are performed by students in CSM’s dance.

The college’s theater season this year includes a play intended to include the younger audience, “Junie B. Jones, The Musical.” Based on the Barbara Park book series and adapted by award-winning songwriters Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich for Theatreworks USA, the presentation is designed to remind theater-goers of every age of the fun and challenges of a new school year. CSM’s theater presentations this season also include “three major works of the theater canon — August Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie,’ Lillian Hellman’s ‘The Children’s Hour’ and William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’” Johnson said.

New this year, CSM will offer opportunities for theater audiences to attend after-show discussions with staff and students about the themes of the shows.

Also in theater news, the college is holding a student competition for the design and creation of a plaque to recognize donors CSM President Emeritus Brad Gottfried and Linda Gottfried by renaming the theater in the Fine Arts Center on the La Plata campus in their name. Instead of a conventional naming plaque, the Gottfrieds, along with the CSM Foundation, are sponsoring a competition to find a student-created design that celebrates their gift to CSM while showcasing student talent. This competition will provide an emerging artist the opportunity to showcase their work and gain exposure. Participating designers must be enrolled at the college and submissions are due Jan. 15. Visit

The college’s arts season also celebrates the visual arts.

“Visitors to the college can expect another great season of exhibits in the Hungerford Gallery in addition to the college’s annual student juried show,” Johnson said. Art exhibits are presented for free from September through May at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery on the La Plata campus. These exhibitions include landscapes, photography, mixed media and student works. For dates and artist bios, visit

In addition, CSM supports the arts as expressed through the written word. The CSM Connections Literary Series features readings by professional writers as well as fall and spring literary publications representing submissions in poetry, short story, photography and art from students and the Southern Maryland region.

“I believe the writers we bring to CSM will inspire students and the community to begin a conversation about rediscovering and reclaiming our shared humanity, especially in these troubled times,” said CSM professor Neal Dwyer, organizer of the Connections series.

Connections’ fall schedule includes poet Jericho Brown, an American Book Award winner. Brown’s work has been described as “an attempt to fight back against hate in its many guises.”

Brown is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta. Philip Metres, a poet, translator and scholar, is also on the schedule to give a reading of his work, which has been described as “beautiful, powerful, magnetically original.” Metres is a professor of English at John Carroll University in Cleveland and his poems have been translated into Arabic, Polish, Russian and Tamil.

The series’ spring schedule will kick off with award-winning playwright Jake Shore, whose newest play, “The Sun Hangs There,” will be performed in CSM’s Leonardtown campus auditorium. The play explores the intellectualization of murder in higher education. In April, there will be two Connections readings. The first will feature writer Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, author and translator of 17 books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction, many of which focus on the impact of war. The second will feature author Wayne Karlin, a Vietnam veteran, award-winning author of seven novels and CSM professor emeritus. Karlin will read from his latest work, “A Wolf by the Ear,” which explores the impact of American slavery on several individuals.

In addition, the CSM Connections Literary Series gives students and the general public a chance to share their own poems, stories, artwork and photography of Southern Maryland in the Connections magazine. Publication readings take place in December and May each year. Submission deadline for the fall edition is Oct. 26. For submission guidelines, visit

All featured writers and scheduled readings will be posted on the Connections web page at The Connections Literary Series is sponsored by CSM’s English, Communication, and Languages Division, and, in part, by the Arts Council of Calvert County, the Charles County Arts Alliance, the St. Mary’s County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.

For all schedules, updates and additional information about CSM’s 2019-20 arts season, visit